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3:47 AM   April 18, 2014
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Rabbit Grooming Facts of Life

Just as cats need regular brushing to keep hairballs and skin conditions in check, so too do rabbits require basic care tasks. Encourage any rabbit customer to invest in the necessary equipment. Added time spent bonding with a cuddly pet makes a good brushing worth it and offers the perfect opportunity to inspect an animal for signs of illness.

Brushing/Combing
Brushes and combs should be recommended with every hutch, bail of hay or water bottle. These tools and their ability to separate and clean hairs helps eliminate the need for stressful bathing altogether. The removal of loose undercoats, often thick with all rabbit breeds, prevents excess shedding that can result in hairballs. Hairball bowel obstructions are common health risks for rabbits. Frequent brushing represents the No. 1 prevention strategy for avoiding costly and potentially fatal abdominal surgery.

Bathing
Should a customer insist on bathing a pet rabbit, make sure to offer a non-soap, hypo allergenic product. Protective eye drops designed to keep liquids out of the eyes also pair well with these products. The justification for the added protection comes from the animal’s basic anatomy. Rabbits do not produce tears, meaning they are unable to cry away harmful irritants, which may be present in harsh cleansers.

Nail Trimming
Every sale of a nail clipper designed for use with rabbits should be followed by specific words of caution. As owners of cants and dogs can attest, most pets squirm when held for nail trimming. This can be especially dangerous with rabbits. Their delicate spinal columns predispose them to disabling, life-threatening nerve damage. Gentle yet secure restraining techniques should be employed during this regular grooming chore. Encourage rabbit owners to take their instruction from their rabbit-friendly veterinarian before attempting the activity on their own.

Ear Care
Though a rabbits ears should be examined regularly for waxy buildup, redness or dark discharge, cleaning them needs to be preformed with great care. Make sure your customers perform checks often, particularly with lop-eared breeds – as they are prone to ear infections. Encourage them to seek ear care products from small mammal veterinarians who can prescribe the appropriate medicated treatments.

Med Checks
Rabbits can be prone to lots of health problems. Encourage owners to inspect their animals closely during grooming activities. Early detection of medical issues helps increase the chances of successful treatment. Remind your customers to check for the following: Fleas, impacted scent glands, sores on the paws and feet, discharge from ears or eyes, and lumps sores or scabs on the skin. <HOME>


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